How to Start a Sports Blog and Make Money [2021 Edition]
Do you want to start a sports blog and make money?
Well, it’s much easier than you think.
If you are passionate about sports, starting a blog can be helpful and beneficial in many ways.
According to a report, the global sports market reached a value of nearly $380.5 billion in 2020. And you will be surprised to see how many ways sports bloggers are making money out of their blogs.
The best thing about starting a sports blog is that it doesn’t require you any coding skills, courses, or hiring a developer.
You can create a sports blog in just 20 minutes.
But, being passionate about sports or something is not enough. You need to have a proper plan or roadmap, and most importantly execute them accordingly.
So, in this article, I will show you how to create a sports blog (step by step) and make money out of it.
Everything in this article is very well-explained and may seem like a long post.
In case of any time, you face any issue or don’t understand what to do next, or don’t have enough time to build a sports blog, you can reach us via the contact form.
For a limited time, we are offering a FREE blog setup. This includes:
* We have helped over 350+ people for creating their websites.
However, if you want to create a sports blog by yourself, then keep reading.
Below are the step-by-step guides to follow.
How to Start a Sports Blog in 12 Steps
1. Choose a Sports Niche
Before you start creating a sports blog, you must take some time and think about what type of topics you want to cover on your blog.
Because “Sports” is such a vast topic and covering everything by you, especially as a beginner would be very hard. As a result, your blog wouldn’t grow over time.
That’s why you should choose a topic that you are passionate about and have enough knowledge.
When I started my first blog back in 2015, I didn’t think about choosing any specific topic that I will cover. I basically wanted to create a news-type website similar to Gizmodo, TheNextWeb, HuffPost, etc.
After writing a couple of articles, I realized it’s becoming very difficult for me to cover all the areas at the same time. Most importantly, I did not have enough knowledge in most of them.
I was struggling to grow my blog and attracting audiences.
After taking a couple of days off, I decided to stick with only one topic that I am passionate about and have enough knowledge about.
By continuing that, my traffic increased, and very soon, I was able to make my first $100 with Google AdSense.
Similar way, I created three more blogs in different categories that are generating a good amount of money now.
The point here to say is that choosing a specific topic from a broad area always works better and also easier, especially if you are new to blogging.
As you are starting a sports blog, here are my top 7 topic ideas for you:
There’s no limitation on what you can write on your blog. If you have another better idea, go ahead.
But make sure, the topic you choose has enough audience and you can write continuously for months and years.
2. Decide on Your Blog Name
Once you figure out what your blog topic will be, you need to think of a domain name for creating a sports blog.
A domain name is an address of a website that people type in the browser to visit a website. For example, “Google.com”, “Facebook.com”, “Amazon.com” are examples of domain names.
Domain name has a significant impact on the success of a website. That’s why you should be careful before picking a domain name.
Here are the 9 tips on choosing a great domain name for your sports blog:
a) Get a .Com domain name - The .Com domain is the most popular domain name on the internet. Nearly 50% of all global websites are registered with the .com domain extension.
Due to the vast popularity, .Com domain names are easier to remember and also look brandable than any other domain.
b) Keep it short - Keep your domain name as short as possible. Shorter domain names are easier to remember.
The ideal domain length should be between 9-15 characters.
c) Make sure it’s easy to pronounce and type - Keep your domain name simple. Don’t add any complex letters in your domain that are not understandable at a first glance.
d) Don’t repeat any letter - Don’t repeat any letter because of availability. This often makes people confused.
- MySportsBlog - is a good domain name
- MyySpoortsBlogg - is a bad domain name
e) Avoid hyphens and numbers - You should never add any hyphens or numbers in your domain name.
These types of domains are mostly used by spammers.
f) Include a keyword in your domain name if possible - Consider adding one or more keywords in your domain name if possible. This helps people to easily understand what your blog or website is about. For example,
- FoodPanda.com - a food delivery service
- SportingNews.com - a sports blog
- SecSports.com, - a sports blog
g) Insert words before or after your domain name - Let’s say your ideal domain “nflsports.com” is already registered by someone. So, you could start by trying “nflsportsblog.com” or “nflsportsleague.com”.
Most of the time this trick works and you will be able to register your domain. But make sure to keep it simple.
h) Avoid trademark infringement - While registering a domain name, make sure the domain is not trademarked or used by another company. This can lead to a lawsuit.
Also, avoid including another company’s name into your domain name or register with a different extension.
It is wise to invest some time and come up with a new domain name.
i) Come up with a new name - While registering a domain name, you may see that most of the common domain names are already registered.
If that’s the case, you need to think of a new name that is unique and sounds like a brand. It’s not necessary to have real meaning.
Just think about “Google”. It doesn’t have any real meaning, but the most popular website in the world.
After coming up with a domain name, register it immediately. Because on average 150,000 domains are registered every day.
So, if you don’t register your domain, someone will else do it.
3. Choose a Blogging Platform
Once you figured out your domain name, the next step is to choose a blogging platform.
There are plenty of blogging platforms available - such as WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Blogger, Joomla, etc. Amongst them, WordPress is the most popular and widely used Content Management System (CMS).
Big brands like BBC America, Mercedes-Benz, Beyoncé, The Walt Disney Company, Sony Music, New York Post, and many other sites are using WordPress.
Here’s why I recommend WordPress:
There are so many reasons to use WordPress for creating a sports blog. All of my sites are built with WordPress.
4. Purchase a Domain and Hosting
You have learned how to choose a great domain name and a blogging platform for creating a sports blog, now, it’s time to register the domain and purchase web hosting.
In a nutshell, a domain is a website’s address on the internet that people type in the browser to visit a website. For example, Google.com.
And web hosting is a place where websites are installed and stored online.
Without web hosting, you can’t build a website.
A domain costs around $14 for a year and web hosting plans start from $9 per month.
Now, if I calculate, that’s around $120 for a year and $360 for 3 years.
That’s too much for those who are just getting started.
Fortunately, web hosting companies like HostPapa offer a FREE domain name registration with their hosting plan, and their price starts at just $3.95 per month.
HostPapa company was founded in 2006 and now powers over 500,000 websites worldwide.
Some of the key features of HostPapa:
Step 1, Choose a hosting plan
Click on the Get Started Now button to go to the pricing page.
HostPapa offers three types of shared plans:
As you are getting started, the Starter Plan would be a good fit as it’s the cheapest plan. But don’t worry. You can upgrade your current plan at any time.
Select a plan and continue.
Step 2, Order details
In this section, you need to choose your billing term and server location.
I highly recommend choosing the 36 months as this plan offers the maximum discount.
Next, choose a data center based on your target audiences’ location. Currently, they have data centers on three continents - United States, Canada, and Europe.
Let’s say most of your target audiences are from the whole European continent, then you should choose the Europe server location.
Step 3, Extra services
Next, you will be asked to add extra services. These are all optional and most of the services we don’t need right now.
The only service I would recommend is “Automated Website Backup”. It’s very useful.
The backup service automatically backups your website daily. In case, something goes wrong with your website, you can easily restore it.
It costs an additional $20 per year, but it's worth it.
At the right corner of the page, you can view your order and total price.
Once done, click on the Next Button to proceed to the next step.
Step 4, Register a free domain
Now, you need to register your domain name.
On this page, you will see two options:
I need a domain name - It’s for registering a new domain
I already own a domain name - if you already bought a domain name from somewhere.
On the blank field, enter your domain name including extension (.com, .net, .org), and click on Get My Domain.
If the domain you entered is available to register, you will be redirected to the account details page.
If the domain is already registered, you will see a message that says:
So, you need to enter a new domain name and click on Next Step at the bottom of the page.
Step 5, Fill up account details
Here, you need to enter your account details, such as your name, country, address, email, etc.
Step 6, Fill up payment information
Once the account details are filled in, a Payment information box will appear at the bottom.
You can make the payment using a credit card or PayPal.
Enter your payment information and click on Place Your Order.
Step 7, Check your email for login details
After making the payment, you will receive a few emails from HostPapa which will contain cPanel login details, account information, shared IP address, etc. Check each of the emails.
However, we only need the following information right now:
- cPanel login URL
- Client ID
- And Password
Now, click on the URL to go to your cPanel login page.
Enter your client ID and password to log in.
You will see menus like My cPanel, My Domains, My Services, My Websites, etc.
You can check the options or click on the My cPanel to access your hosting’s control panel.
Now everything is set, we are ready to install WordPress.
Pro Tip: At the bottom of the right side, there is a live chat option.
In case, you face any issue or have any query, you can reach out to the support team via live chat. It’s fast, helpful, and available 24x7.
5 . Install WordPress
On the cPanel, you can see tons of options.
However, to install WordPress, scroll below to the Software section.
You can see the option “WordPress Manager by Softaculous” and click on it.
It will ask you to install a new copy of WordPress.
Step 1, Software Setup
Choose the version you want to install - Make sure to select the latest WordPress version to install.
Choose installation URL - For the protocol, I recommend choosing the 4th option which starts with “https://www”. So your website URL will be like “https://www.domain.com”.
Leave the domain and directory default.
Step 2, Site Settings
Site Name - Enter your website’s name. For example, “My Sports Blog” or “Sports NFL”, or “Football Mania”.
Site Description - In this field, you need to enter your website’s description that explains what your site is about or what topics do you cover.
Enable Multisite - Leave it default.
Note - You can always change your site name and site description at any time from your WordPress dashboard.
Step 3, Admin Account
Admin Username - You can use your name or anything you like. But, don’t use “Admin” as a username.
Admin Password - The password must need to be strong and at least 10 characters long. Include uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols in your password.
You can also use a password generator tool like Lastpass to generate a secure password.
And, make sure to write down the password on a notebook or your computer.
Admin Email - Use an active email address to receive updates, password reset links, etc.
The next options are Choose Language, Select Plugins, Advanced Options, Select Theme - keep them default.
Go to the bottom of the page. Enter your email and click on the install button to start installing WordPress.
Wait a couple of seconds or a minute to finish the installation.
Once done, you will see a successful message.
6. Set up Your Website
Once the WordPress installation process is done, you need to modify your site’s settings so that it looks more professional.
For this, you need to access your WordPress admin panel.
Simply add /wp-admin at the end of your domain name.
For example, yoursite.com/wp-adminThen enter your admin username and password to access your WordPress dashboard.
Step 1, Remove the default plugins
By default, WordPress automatically installs one or more plugins and we don’t need them.
To delete the plugins, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins.
Then deactivate the plugins one by one and delete them.
Step 2, Change permalink settings
A permalink is the URL structure of a website.
By default, it’s set with day and post name.
So when you publish a post, it automatically adds a date in the URL, for example, “domain.com/2020/02/04/hello-world/” - which is not SEO-friendly.
But, you can change the permalink structure to a simple one.
To change the permalink structure, go to Settings > Permalinks.
There are several types of permalink structures available you can choose from. However, I recommend using the Post name permalink, as it’s an SEO-friendly URL structure.
Select the Post name permalink structure and click on the Save Changes.
Important Note: Once you change your permalink, don’t change it again. By changing the permalink, all the URLs get changed. As a result, all the pages come up with a 404 error, and most importantly, you lose your SEO rankings.
7. Install a Sports Theme
Next, you need to install a theme for your sports blog.
There are both paid and free themes available. However, as a beginner, it would be a great idea to use a free theme.
Here are the steps to follow.
Step 1, Installing a theme
To install a theme, go to Appearance > Themes > Add New.
You can also sort themes by using filters - Featured, Popular, Latest, and Feature Filter.
If you are wondering which theme to use, I would recommend using the GeneratePress theme.
The GeneratePress theme is one of the most popular and highest rated WordPress themes built for speed and usability. You can use the theme for any purpose.
Search for generatepress and activate the theme.
Step 2, Clearing the sidebar (important)
Now visit your website.
You will see a sample post and some widgets in the right sidebar.
Widgets are basically blocks of content that make it easier for WordPress users to control the design and content of their site without touching any code.
While widgets are very useful, we don’t need all of them. And that’s why we need to clear some of them.
To add or remove a widget, go to Appearance > Widgets > Right Sidebar and drag them to the left side.
Only keep Search and Recent Posts.
There are other sidebar areas available where you can add widgets, such as on the left sidebar, footer, header, top bar, etc.
8. Install Plugins
WordPress plugins are apps that add new features and functionality to your website. It works the same as your mobile apps or computer software.
There are over 60,000 plugins available in the WordPress plugin gallery. However, we only need a few of them that are essential.
To install a plugin, go to Plugins > Add New. Using the search bar, you can find hundreds of thousands of free plugins.
Then click on install and activate the plugin.
Here are the 8 recommended plugins for a new WordPress site:
3. Site Kit by Google (free analytics tool) - Site Kit by Google is a one-stop analytics tool that allows you to integrate Google Analytics, Google Search Console, AdSense, etc. with your website. Using the plugin, you can monitor your website’s traffic stats, AdSense earning, and users’ behavior.
4. Akismet Spam Protection (free) - This is the best plugin to stop spam comments on your website.
6. WP Rocket (paid) - WP Rocker is the best caching plugin for WordPress. It speeds up your website by caching your static pages, media files, and images, etc. It’s a must-have plugin if you are serious about your site’s speed. It costs $49.
7. Super Socializer (free) - Super Socializer is a free social share plugin for WordPress that lets you share your content on different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
8. Ad Inserter (free) - By default, WordPress has very limited areas for inserting ads, and most importantly, doesn’t support all types of ads. However, with the Ad Inserter plugin, everything is possible. You can add any type of ad anywhere on your website. Plus, it comes with many advanced features.
These plugins are enough for a new WordPress website. However, if you want to install more plugins, you are free to do that.
Note - It’s very important that you keep those plugins you only use. Having too many plugins can impact your website’s performance.
9. Publish Your First Blog Post
Now you have successfully created a sports blog and it’s time to publish your first blog post.
Before you start writing a post, let's create a few categories.
Step 1, Create categories
Categories are a way of grouping posts on your WordPress blog. You can have both parent and child categories.
Let’s say you want to write about three different sports - golf, football, and basketball.
So, you need to create three different categories for each sports.
To add categories, go to Posts > Categories.
Give it a name, write a description, and click on Add New Category.
Similar way, create other categories.
And, a child category is used for a sub-topic under a broader topic.
For example, under the “basketball” category, there can be child-categories such as tools, matches, leagues, news, etc.
Step 2, Create menus
After adding categories and child-categories, you need to create a menu.
WordPress menu helps your visitors navigate with ease and is basically placed in the header section.
Here’s how it looks like:
To create a menu, navigate to Appearance > Menus.
Select the categories, pages you want to add to the menu and click on Add to Menu.
You can also rearrange the menu items by dragging.
In the menu settings, check the primary menu option and click on Save Menu.
As an example, I have added a category, child-categories, and two pages (contact us and about).
Here's how it looks like:
Step 3, Write a blog post
Now you have created categories and are ready to write your first blog post.
To write a blog post, go to Posts > Add New.
First, write a post title and start writing by adding blocks.
Click on the plus (+) icon to add a block.
There are more than 50 types of blocks available that you can use, for example, paragraph, image, quote, code, gallery, list, etc.
Once the writing is finished, go to the right side of the page which is “post settings”.
From there, you can set permalinks, categories, featured images, post status, and visibility, etc.
Finally, click on the Publish button and you are done.
10. Create Important Pages
These pages are very important and help you in many ways.
Let’s say some individual is seeking help, or a company wants to advertise on your website.
But, how do they reach you?
The simplest way to reach you is via the contact us page.
You can also check that every website has these common pages.
a) Creating an About us page - An About us page shows what your website is about or what does your website serves.
To create an about us page, go to Pages > Add New and write about your website the way you have created your first blog post.
b) Creating a contact us page - For creating a contact us page, you need to install the Ninja Forms plugin that I mentioned before.
Once installed and activated, go to Ninja Forms > Dashboard.
By default, a sample contact form is already created and you can modify it.
Click on the form for further customization.
Once done, copy the short code and paste it to a page.
d) Disclaimer - A disclaimer is a notice that protects your blog, website, or app against legal liability.
You can generate a free disclaimer using Termly.
e) Advertise - Once your website is up and running for at least a year or more, you could receive advertising opportunities that will get you some extra money.
11. Add a CDN to Speed Up Your Site
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a globally-distributed network of servers that provide faster delivery of internet content.
It caches all your website content and delivers it to the visitors from their nearest region.
There are many benefits of using a CDN, such as:
There are several CDN providers out there - however, we recommend using Cloudflare CDN as it is free and has 155+ data centers around the world.
As a HostPapa user, you can easily integrate Cloudflare CDN with your WordPress site.
Step 1, Login to your cPanel
First login to your HostPapa cPanel account, and click on Cloudflare under the Software section.
Step 2, Create a Cloudflare account
Create a free Cloudflare account.
After entering your account details, you will be asked to add your domain.
Step 3, Select a Cloudflare plan
There are four different plans available on Cloudflare. Select the free plan to get started and click on continue.
Step 4, Review DNS records
After that, it will start scanning your current DNS records.
Here you don’t need to do anything. Click on Continue to proceed to the next step.
Step 5, Change your nameservers
In this step, you need to update your nameservers.
For this, you need to remove the HostPapa nameservers and add Cloudflare’s nameservers.
Click to copy the Cloudflare nameservers and save them somewhere on your computer. We need them after a while.
Now, login to your HostPapa dashboard.
Click on My Domains and you will see your domain name.
Click on Details and then Nameservers to view your details.
There are two options for updating your nameservers. However, you need to click on the “Use Custom Nameservers”.
Enter the Cloudflare nameserver one by one and click on Update DNS Servers.
Step 6, Quick optimization guide
Once finished, Cloudflare suggests a few optimization tips that will help to improve your website’s security and performance.
Click on Get Started to start optimizing your site.
a) Improve security
- Automatic HTTPS Rewrites - Turn it on
- Always Use HTTPS - Turn it on
b) Optimize performance
- Brotli - Turn it on
Don’t forget to click on the Finish button to save to settings.
Done! You have successfully added Cloudflare CDN to your WordPress site.
Note: Please note that DNS server updates can take up to 24 hours to take effect.
This is an automatic process. Once your site is active on Cloudflare, you will receive an email.
12. Monetize Your Sports Blog
After starting a sports blog, you may be wondering about how to make money online.
Well, it’s time to do so.
Once your blog is up and running for a few months, you can start monetizing it.
There are tons of ways you can monetize your sports blog and make money out of it.
As a beginner, you should focus on only two or three monetization platforms that are easier to get approved.
But before you apply to any monetization platforms, make sure your blog meets the following guidelines:
Here are the top 3 ways to monetize your sports blog as a beginner.
1. Make Money through Ad Networks
An advertising or ad network is a company that connects advertisers to websites that want to serve advertisements.
Google AdSense is a great example of it.
Once approved to any of the ad networks, you need to place ads on your website in order to generate money.
In Ad networks, you will get paid by the total number of views and clicks on your ads.
a) Google AdSense
AdSense is the largest ad network run by Google.
AdSense is suitable for all types of blogs. It serves different types of ads such as text and display ads, in-feed ads, and in-article ads.
There is no minimum traffic requirement for applying to Google AdSense.
The minimum payment threshold is $100.
Ezoic is a great alternative to Google AdSense.
It serves display ads, native ads, in-line ads, mobile anchor, or overlay ads.
Through Ezoic, you can generate 10X more revenue than Google AdSense, however, they only accept sites that receive a minimum of 10,000 visits per month.
The minimum payout is $20.
2. Make Money through Affiliate Marketing
An affiliate program is a performance-based advertising channel where a business pays a commission when its affiliates make a sale.
Amazon Associates is a great example of it.
After joining any affiliate programs, you need to put product links (through text or banner) on your blog. When someone purchases a product through your link, you get a commission.
a) Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates is an affiliate program run by Amazon.
Total 18 countries have an Amazon affiliate program.
There is no minimum traffic requirement to get approved by Amazon associates.
The approval process at the Amazon affiliate program is instant. However, you need to have at least 3 qualified sales within the first 180 days in order to keep your account activated.
The minimum payout is $10.
ShareASale is another popular affiliate marketing network where you’ll have access to over 6,000 merchants.
The approval process at ShareASale is quite simple and there is no minimum traffic requirement.
The minimum payout is $50.
3. Make Money through Direct Advertising
There are several ways companies promote their products online - online advertising is one of them.
If you have a good amount of traffic on your blog and decent followers on social media platforms, companies will reach out to you for advertising.
The more traffic you have on your blog, the more advertising options you will get, and most importantly, they will pay you more.
They may ask you to write a review about their product or place a banner on your website.
To make things easier, you can create an advertising page where you can show how much traffic you get per month, how many social followers you have, how many ad slots you have, and the pricing model.
Through blogging, you can share your knowledge with the world, refine your writing skills, market your business, and most importantly, you can make a lot of money.
If you passionate about sports and have enough knowledge, why not start a sports blog and make money?
Creating a blog is as simple as pie.
By reading through the article, you will learn how you can create a sports blog in just 20 minutes.
I have explained each of the steps in detail and added images to make things easier for you.
However, if you have a question in mind, or stuck in any step or you want me to build a sports blog for you, reach out to me via the contact form.
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